Cuban: Maybe Lakers should cut Kobe
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Mark Cuban knows how to create a stir, particularly when the Los Angeles Lakers are involved.
The Dallas Mavericks owner went on Dallas’ ESPN Radio affiliate Friday to talk about the NBA. He came away with a suggestion for the Lakers that may be equal parts brilliant and batty: cutting Kobe Bryant.
“If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight (Howard) comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?” Cuban said, via ESPN Dallas.
Bryant will make more than $30 million next year, joining Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to reach that plateau. And Howard’s contract is expected to be a maximum-level deal. There likely would be no way for the Lakers to bring back the free agent center without going heavily into the luxury tax threshold.
That is, unless they cut Bryant.
The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement features a punitive luxury tax that could cripple teams spending too much money. But the Lakers aren’t any team, and success drives their brand, which brings in money.
Bryant has been the face of that success for almost a decade. (Yeah, we’re taking Shaquille O’Neal’s side in that grudge.)
Cuban doesn’t think the Lakers should or will cut Bryant. But the amnesty clause created in the CBA allows teams to relieve themselves of burdensome contracts without penalty, and his point is teams are now forced to make tougher decisions on spending than ever before.
Cuban faced speculation he might trade Dirk Nowitzki, who has been the face of the Mavericks’ success for 15 years. He decided against it because sometimes the extra money is worth spending.
So, no, the Lakers absolutely shouldn’t cut Kobe Bryant. Cuban knows that. Everyone knows that.
But things are getting complicated.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk for the story tip.